#2023StartsWithMe: Habits, routines, and rituals you can do to prioritise yourself in 2023
Author: Nic Monteforte
“I love you, but I love me more” - Samantha, Sex and the City
I have decided to own this quote and make 2023 a year that starts with me. Easier said than done, I know. However, as I sit here and write this blog, I am exhausted, burnt out, my body is sending signals that it's tired and I find myself overwhelmed at the smallest things. I have been here before, too many times and fortunately for me, I also know exactly what I need to do to shift it. (Also read: Menopause Fatigue is Real. Here’s How You Can Counter It)
“I love you, but I love me more!”
So what does loving me more even look like and HOW exactly does one do it, when we have the challenges of menopause added into our already hectic lives?
Putting you first and responding to these epic changes we are all facing in a positive way are HABITS or RITUALS — ones that you can cultivate if you put your mind to it. Where you can go wrong is thinking that creating new habits or reigniting previous habits is hard work and I can tell you, it's not. Let me give you an example. Getting back on track with a habit like exercise or walking is as simple as positioning your walking shoes somewhere that you have to walk past when you get up in the morning and doing that for 7 days. It's not about walking…yet…it's about activating the reward centres in your brain by doing little changes often and feeling like you are achieving something. Eventually you can add in a 5 or 10-minute walk (which you will want to do once your shoes are on) but a simple ritual like that is all your brain needs to kick start the desire button in your brain and then it all starts to flow from there.
So, how do we apply the same thinking to ourselves and our absolute right to ‘love me more’ without a feeling of guilt, or that everyone else's needs matter more than our own? Building small habits and rituals into your daily routine that are not time consuming, are simple and feel good are all you need to do. Strong Formula is all about ‘loving me more’ and has been designed to do exactly that. It builds small habits into your everyday life and over time slowly grows (without you even knowing or having to think about it! Basically, its done all the hard work for you)!
So let me share with you my top 3 ‘love me more’ habits and rituals that are my go to’s when it's time for me to do ME:
- Box Breathing: Apart from the fact that you can do it ANYWHERE, this is one of my favourite practices when it feels like it's all coming at you at once. It takes 5 minutes and can shift you from a state of overwhelm and stress to one of calm and conscious. The more you do this, the more your nervous system relaxes and the more you flow with the day rather than flight with it. Try this: inhale for 4 slow counts, hold for 4 slow counts, exhale for 4 slow counts, hold for 4 slow counts. Repeat 5-10 times. Add this in as many times as you can in a day and feel the love you are giving yourself.
- Walking: So much research has shown that walking is an amazing mood medicine, which can improve your mental clarity, sharpen the memory, and help safeguard brain health as you get older. A walk around the block for 5-12 minutes can result in increased joviality, vigour, alertness and self-confidence. There really is no excuse for not taking a 5 minute walk through your day, everyday. Use a little habit stacking trick: If you normally have a morning coffee - have the coffee AFTER your little walk, by doing this, you are rewarding yourself with your coffee and your brain will LOVE how it feels and in turn you will love how you feel!
- 1 Hour Weekend ME time: Allocate 1 hour every weekend where it belongs to you. Let everyone in your life, who you are responsible for, know when it is and that your phone will be off. Choose an activity that makes your heart smile. Whether it's your favourite Netflix series, a local cafe and a book, lunch with your bestie or a facial, put it in your diary as a repeat event (in fact put it in everyone's diary)! That time belongs to you, take it, you deserve it and feel the love.
Now, to be fair, most of these little treats are all part of Strong Formula, so I can’t claim them as my own, except that they are my way of ‘loving me more’ and making 2023 the year that starts with me.
If you’d like to get started in learning more about ways to show love to yourself through a healthy and active lifestyle while being surrounded with a community of strong, like-minded women, check out Strong Formula’s 5 x 6 program HERE.